Leasehold Enfranchisement

Oral Answers to Questions — Land and Natural Resources – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th June 1966.

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Photo of Mr Evan Luard Mr Evan Luard , Oxford 12:00 am, 13th June 1966

asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources what is the reason for the upper limit of rateable value of £200 for houses outside the London area qualifying for leasehold enfranchisement under the proposals in the White Paper on Leasehold Reform.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

It seems appropriate that this legislation, one of the main purposes of which is to improve the security of tenure of leaseholders, should apply to the same class of property as do the Rent Acts.

Photo of Mr Evan Luard Mr Evan Luard , Oxford

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there are certain areas in the country, including my own constituency of Oxford, where a very large proportion—in some cases about half—of the leaseholders are excluded from the privileges of enfranchisement by the present regulations, and that it is very difficult to explain to those people why it is just for one class of leaseholder to be enfranchised and not just for another class?

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

Overall, rather less than 1 per cent. would appear to be excluded outside London. I will certainly look at cases such as those my hon. Friend has mentioned.

Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Smethwick

asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources when he will introduce the Bill to implement the proposals of the White Paper on leasehold enfranchisement.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

During the present Session.

Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Smethwick

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that brief Answer—it was very much to the point—may I press on him the urgency of this legislation—[HON. MEMBERS: "Question."] May I ask my right hon. Friend to bear in mind that there is a great deal of urgency in this matter, remembering that, as in the case of my constituency, both the folk concerned and many of the leases concerned are moving towards the end of their span? Would he see that the formula decided on to settle the purchase price—[HON. MEMBERS: "Too long."]I—am nearly there—of the freehold should be as low as possible, realising, as he must do—

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. The hon. Gentleman must get there more quickly.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

As my hon. Friend is aware, we have taken steps to protect leaseholders whose leases expire before the Bill becomes law. I am well aware of the urgent need for this Bill. My hon. Friend will be comforted to know that we are making good progress.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

While protecting the leaseholders, would the right hon. Gentleman tell the House what will happen in the case of the Oxford and Cambridge colleges? If they lose a great deal of revenue, will the Government find an alternative source of income for them?

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

We have considered the position of the Oxford and Cambridge colleges. We are quite sure that the steps which we are taking are fair to both parties.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

What is the Minister doing about the situation which is arising particularly in London where the announcement of the Government's policy has simply resulted in putting up the prices of leaseholds?

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

That is not the case at all. Our experience is to the contrary.

Photo of Mr Roland Moyle Mr Roland Moyle , Lewisham North

Is my right hon. Friend aware that some landlords are asking exorbitant sums of money for initial repairs before agreeing to statutory tenancies being given to tenants whose leases have fallen in since 8th December, 1964? Is he further aware that these tenants will be unable to take advantage of the Leasehold Reform Bill unless quick action is taken?

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

My hon. Friend should call the attention of his constituents to the provisions of the 1954 Act and to the assurance given, to which I have already referred.